South Korea's trade ministry submitted an opinion to Japan on Wednesday, again urging Tokyo to take back its export curbs and not to exclude South Korea from the 27 countries on its so-called whitelist who receive preferential treatment on trade.
"Japan should immediately retract its groundless export restrictions on the three items related to semiconductors. Also, Japan should withdraw its move to revise the trade law to take South Korea off its whitelist. Companies and people in both countries do not want to break South Korea and Japan's win-win economic ties, which have lasted more than 60 years, because of this issue."
Removal would mean Japanese exporters have to apply for approval to ship goods to South Korea on a case-by-case basis.
The ministry added that it hopes to maintain a future-oriented relationship with Tokyo and is fully ready to talk.
The government refuted Japan's claims one by one.
It said South Korea has always properly managed its own controls on exports to North Korea based on a "catch-all" system involving relevant government institutions and experts, a system it said is stricter than Japan's.
Furthermore, Japan's argument is false, it said, because it fails to understand South Korea's tight system of control over strategic and non-strategic goods.
It went on to say that Seoul has kept its dialogue channels with Tokyo open.
Japan had cited a lack of communication as another reason for the curbs, but last year, the seventh high-level talks between Seoul and Tokyo were postponed with the agreement of both sides because Japan also understood it was not easy for them to adjust the schedule.
The trade ministry also said Japan's latest moves go against the WTO's principles of free trade and are short-sighted because they will hurt Japanese companies and the global supply chain.
Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.